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Soil Sense

90 EpisodesProduced by NDSU ExtensionWebsite

Welcome to the Soil Sense Podcast, where we believe that building healthier soils is not just a prescription, but rather a pursuit. This journey requires collaboration, curiosity, and communication among farmers, agricultural researchers, agronomists, consultants, and extension. You’re going to hear… read more


The Soil Health Snowball with Jon Bertsch

We have another great episode with a farmer who has been on a journey over the past seven years or so to try to build healthier soils on his farm in Hillsboro, North Dakota. Jon Bertsch is a third generation farmer who grows mainly corn and soybeans, but he says he is looking at adding back some wheat and sunflowers this year.

Jon discusses his soil health journey both in cover crops and tillage. He has some really practical advice about getting started where you are with what you have, and he shares openly about what is working for him and what is not. Jon’s interest in cover crops all started while attending a conference in which Abbey Wick spoke.

“I can manage moisture in a different way, I can manage fertility in a different way, and I can manage my weeds in a different way…. I was like this is outside the box and something different. I like the concept, I like the long term and I like what it does for the soil. It was just checking all of these boxes.” -Jon Bertsch

One practice leads to another practice and there is a snowball effect there, but what does that snowball effect look like in soils? Jon says he could see signs in the soil itself, and he really felt the snowball when he could consider reducing or eliminating some of his other practices.

“In those drier years, we've conserved moisture. We got this last year absolutely without a doubt. My solid seeded soybeans that went into cereal rye did awesome on a year that we needed to conserve moisture.” -Jon Bertsch

This Week on Soil Sense:

  • Meet Jon Bertsch, a third generation farmer in Hillsboro, North Dakota.
  • Discover Jon’s journey in incorporating cover crops and changing his crop management practices
  • Explore the influences that have helped Jon along this journey

Connect with Soil Sense

Soil Sense Podcast is hosted by Tim Hammerich of the Future of Agriculture Podcast.

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